Posted in Uncategorized

Understanding Guys

Dear Darla, In order to interact with guys generally, in order to date one of them, and in order to marry one, it is highly recommended that you have…

Understanding Guys

A wonderfully written article by pastor Doug Wilson.

Posted in Christian Living

Christian Life as Dictated by the King of Kings: A Prelude to Easter

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” (Eccl 7.16; NASB)1

Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 6.1).

INTRODUCTION:

We are closing in on the culmination of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry—His crucifixion and resurrection and ascension. In just two weeks we will be celebrating Easter. Some of us with family and friends, but those of us here as members of the Body of Christ. In recent generations Easter has been turned into a cultural icon celebrated by many but the meaning of which has been by and large lost. Like so many things taken from our Christian heritage it has become a historical tradition with no greater purpose than serving the individuals who celebrate it. In other words, Easter like Christmas and Thanksgiving has been turned inward where we gratify ourselves rather than recognizing what the celebration truly points to—Jesus Christ.

This attitude is not new. It was rampant in Israel at the time of our Lord’s coming. It was evident in ancient Israel under the reign of righteous kings like David and Solomon. It was visibly practiced during the period of the Judges. And, it was something that Moses had to contend with as he led God’s people towards the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to Abraham in giving the land of Canaan as an inheritance to the children of our chief patriarch’s loins.

Why? Because we are not very good with remembering. We like gifts. We enjoy blessings. We lift our voices in shouts of exclamation when something good happens in our lives. But we struggle with seeing the true importance behind an event, a statute, or a gift.

There were many festivals celebrated in Israel from the time of Moses to Christ Jesus. There was the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths), the Day of Pentecost, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Passover. Each event symbolized a greater truth but what was remembered was the celebration in the sense of a self-gratifying festival of eating, drinking and being merry. Nothing wrong with the latter elements being exemplified. These are things that godly people are commended to do. But there is something wrong with missing the significance of the event pretending that its all about us when its not.

Instruction to His people…

The same may be true with the law of God. God gave His law to reveal His will for His people. Individuals made up of families within a larger community that were created and set-apart to bear His image in this world. Every area of life was to be governed by the life giving instruction of God. As Moses explained to the children of Israel before they took the Promise Land—a reward for faithfulness not faithlessness:

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have placed before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding close to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, so that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deut 30.19-20; emphasis added; also see Deut 32.39).

The law was given to offer instruction to the people of God that they may be righteous before the Lord and as a result live, experiencing His blessing on their life of faithfulness. It is not as if the Law gives life, it does not nor can it. The Law shuts the mouth of sinners for it proves that though they eagerly profess their goodness to themselves and to others the reality is that they (we are all!) sinners. In this way then the Law is meant to drive us to our knees beseeching God’s grace so that we might live by Him; for Him.

I have often pondered the meaning of Solomon’s words recorded in Ecclesiastes 7:16. Is there such a thing as being too righteous, too holy? Is that even possible for a human being? And what of wisdom? Is there such a thing as being too wise? To have obtained such a treasury of knowledge that our wisdom (i.e., the practice of applying knowledge gained) handicaps us? Though the answer is easily enough discerned from the rest of what is said in Ecclesiastes I find it interesting that Jesus addresses the issue as well. In fact, He goes into greater detail of the true meaning of being too righteous or wise.

Christ’s Gold Standard

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the “Golden Rule.” I have had conversations with self-professing atheists who have cited this rule as the mode of operation (modus operandi) by which all human action should be governed. It is a tradition that has been borrowed from the Christian worldview. It is taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:16,

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (see Rom 10.13).2

But the question we ought to be asking when something like Matthew 7:16 is cited or the so-called “Golden Rule” is referenced, is by what standard? What is the standard by which I am to treat others? More importantly, how will this standard effect my interaction with God. Meaning, how do I treat God with my life (i.e., my thoughts, words and deeds), and how will He treat me in retrospect?

You see the standard by which we are to treat others is not within ourselves; it doesn’t derive from our inner being. According to Jesus, the standard to be applied in treating others, including the God who formed us and gave/gives us life is God’s law. Again we find that our culture has appropriated a truth, turned it into a tradition, but the aim and purpose of it has been forgotten.

Matthew 5-7 is often called the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Matt 5.1). It contains the meat of much of what Jesus taught during His 3 ½ year earthly ministry. It references God’s people and the standard by which God’s people are to live by. A standard, by the way, that Jesus informs His listeners He did not come to abolish but rather to uphold:

Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! Therefore, whoever nullifies one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5.17-20).

God’s law is His instruction for life on this planet. If we want to live, if we want to be blessed, if we want to prosper in what we do building that which will last long after we have faded from memory on this earth, then we must not only know what His word teaches but be diligent in the keeping of it. Both faith and faithlessness in light of God’s Law-Word have their rewards, either life or death.

Matthew 6 and Where the Believer’s Emphasis Lies

Now I noted in the heading (at the beginning/top of the sermon) that we were going to cover Matthew 6 in light of what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, and in light of how Christ Jesus lived on this earth. But before we get there I wanted to give you come context first. I will be quick here. I have already stated that standard by which Jesus applies to the believer’s life in His famous sermon here (the longest we have recorded in Scripture) is the Law of God.

From Matthew 5:21 until the end of that chapter Jesus uses the corrective phrasing,

You have heard that it was said of those of old…But I say to you…” (Matt 5.21a, 22a; ESV).

Here, He is explaining to His audience “you’ve been taught this way…, but I’m here to tell you otherwise….” In short, Jesus is correcting a commonly held (traditionally held) understanding of God’s Law-Word that is actually in error.

Beginning in chapter 6 we see a different emphasis being placed upon Jesus’ hearers; those claiming to be children of God, what we would call “believers” or “Christians” using today’s common vernacular (or if you prefer, language or tongue).3 Matthew 6 starts off with a principle for those who fear (i.e., honor and respect) God:

Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of the people, to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 6.1; emphasis added).

If we compare this with Solomon’s earlier statement recorded in Ecclesiastes (cf. 7:16) we find that he and the Lord’s words seem to be of similar intent. How so? For Solomon follows his advice of not being too righteous or too wise with the rhetorical question:

Why should you destroy yourself?” (Eccl 7.16b).

The question demands a negative answer. No one should destroy themselves. That is folly. Better to make sure we live in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord God (cf. Eccl 7.18; also see Eccl 8.12; 12.13). Notice that Jesus’ emphasis is the same.

Jesus warns how one ought to live their life (comp 1Pet 4.11). He says to “take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of the people….” Taken at face value it would appear that He was saying, we shouldn’t practice our righteousness in the public square. But this contradicts how He lived His own life and what He had taught earlier in the same sermon:

Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5.16; ASV; cf. Prov 4.18).
If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love” (John 15.10; comp Acts 3.14).

Righteousness properly defined means “the quality of being morally right.”4 Jesus never sinned (Heb 7.26; 1Pet 2.22; 1John 3.5). No foul word ever touched His lips (1Pet 2.23). For this reason He is identified as the perfect “Lamb of God,” (John 1.29, 36; also see 1Pet 2.24) the “propitiation” (1John 2.1-2) for our sin. And yet, He performed many righteous acts before the people. As long as He had breath in Him until the appointed time, He lived for God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s Law-Word.

And so, when Jesus gives the warning to those who claim to follow Him, to those who profess to be children of the Most High, the Heavenly Father unto whom all creatures owe their due, He is not prohibiting or cautioning the practice of God’s righteousness (i.e., godly/goodly works) but the attitude and standard by which we seek to do them.

Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them…” (Matt 6.1b).

Such a righteousness is not a godly righteousness. It is the type of righteousness that the wisdom writer Solomon, the 3rd king of Israel, warned against. For what is the goal of the one who seeks to be noticed by others? Is it not to be praised by them? Is it not to gratify the desires of your own heart? Is it not to be cherished by the masses, great or small?

A truly righteous person seeks to please who? God or mankind? The Lord or the people in our day-to-day lives? If it is the latter and not the former, then according to Jesus,

“…you [will] have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 6.1c).

He then cites many religious activities that people seek praises from others for.

On Giving…

So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues on and on the streets, so that they will be praised by people. Truly I say to you, they will have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your charitable giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt 6.2-4).

On Praying…

And when you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. Bu as for you when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt 6.5-6).

On Fasting…

Now whenever you fast, do not make a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they distort their faces so that they will be noticed by people when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But as for you, when you fast anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by people but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt 6.16-18)

Christ’s Standard is NOT the World’s Standard

The point here is not that living righteously or wisely is bad, but the standard that we use to deem what our righteousness and wisdom looks like might be. According to Jesus our standard ought to be to please God in all that we do. To honor His Word. To obey His commandments. To live for Him. To seek our reward from Him, not from creatures. Jesus points out in Matthew 5:48 that God’s people are to pursue perfection, which is a synonym for righteousness:

Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

That’s our goal. That’s our motivation. That’s our chief pursuit. We strive to be good and pure and holy like our Creator. We make every effort to live for Him and not for the people of this world. This makes many professing believer’s uneasy. And to some extent it should. But it must be noted that,

...there is not a righteous person on earth who always does good and does not ever sin” (Eccl 7.20; cf. Rom 3.23).

This truth, though, does not nullify the expectation that God places on us. Rather it points us to our true need: We need to be delivered, We need to be saved. This is the reason for Jesus. He—the living Word—stepped into creation as a babe, putting on flesh, so that He might represent His people whom He came to deliver from their sins. What the Law of God points to is our desperate need for a Savior, whom we have been gifted in Jesus of Nazareth called the Christ.

While this is true…we NEED a Savior… we must also recognize that the One who saves us is also our Lord! Our lives having meaning because of Him. He defines who we are. Not our feelings. Not our thoughts. Not our desires. Not the people around us in this life. He defines who we are. He is our righteousness. He alone is our wisdom. We are called from the depths of sin—made possible by His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension in history—to live our lives in accordance with His Word, for His glory not the praise of others.

We are told three times (vv. 4, 6, 18) that what is done in secret is rewarded by the Lord. But the converse is also true, what is done in front of people, seeking their praise, is also a reward (vv. 2, 5, 16). If our desire is to please and honor God through Christ by the Holy Spirit demonstrated through faithful obedience (i.e., righteousness), then He will reward us. This does not mean we have to pray in a closet or give in the dark or fast away from others. What it means is that our delight is in pleasing our Father who is in Heaven, whom the world does not know or see. The attention we are intending to draw is His not the praise of others.

Where our Heart Lies

This is what I believe to be the meaning of Matthew 6:19-21 when Jesus speaks of treasure hunters:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Now it is true that this can pertain to material wealth. But the more robust meaning given the flow of the text seems to implicate any type of treasure seeking. Some prefer the treasure of “men’s applause.” The desire to be known, to be thought highly of, to be adored is nothing short of wanting to be worshiped in some way. The accolades of people’s applause is great, and has allured many throughout history. Rather our desire should be to seek the Lord’s will. And with that in mind we shall wrap up with the Lord’s teaching on a proper pray life.

Please note that when Jesus instructs believer’s to pray He is giving a model to follow not only in our prayer life, but also in our day-to-day living. He says,

And when you are praying, do not use thoughtless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way:
Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debtors, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt 6.7-13)

According to Jesus here what is the purpose of our prayers? To bend God towards our desires or to bring our desires in line with His own? We are warned not to pray like unbeliever’s, this is the meaning of not praying like the Gentiles do. An unbeliever identifies their god as a way to get what they want, but the believer recognizes first and foremost that God alone is Holy; for His name is Hallowed.

After we admit that our God is Holy other, then we pray that His will be done on this earth as it is done in heaven. This is not a reference to everybody else but is foremost to be concerned with the believer’s life. God’s kingdom rule is first seen exercised in His people’s lives. Lives of individuals submissive to His dictates. Next, we find that the believer is to ask for God to provide for his/her daily needs. God gives us the ability to produce wealth, therefore HE alone should get the glory and be recognized as the One who provides for our daily needs. This includes the forgiveness of sins. He saves us from ourselves and He likewise requires us to be gracious in forgiving others who have wronged us (vv. 12, 15-16).

Finally, we close in prayer for God’s deliverance from evil, whether it be the evil one or one of those that serve him (speaking spiritually—demonic activity; speaking materially—human beings that hate God and therefore hate His standards).

Closing Remarks…

In all of this we seek to glorify God not ourselves. Thus as we prepare our hearts for the upcoming Easter celebration let us put forward every effort to remember who it is that died on the Cross, who it is that arose from the grave, and who it is that is seated at the Father’s right hand exercising all authority in heaven and on earth. Easter is the dawning of a new age. Not eastern mysticism, but the rising of the Son of God who not only shines as a bright light upon this earth in the life of His people, but who rightly claims Kingship over all nations and tongues.

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2“the Law and the Prophets” speaks of the entirety of God’s instructive word (Torah—i.e., law) given to His people in the Old Testament as the covenantal (contractual) boundaries by which they were to live (image Him) in this world. When the prophets spoke in the OT they cited God’s Law as the reason judgment (life or death; blessing or curse) was about to fall upon them or some other nation unless they turned (repented) from their sin.

3As an interesting side note the term “vulgate” as in “Latin vulgate” means “common tongue or language.” Therefore, when Latin was the most widely used language (though now it is dead) the Bible’s most prolific translation at the time meant “[in] Latin the common tongue.” Or, so it would seem.

4James Strong and John McClintock, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, 12 vol. TheWord Bible Software.

Posted in self-defense

Is it Lawful or Appropriate? A Question of Governance Regarding Self-Defense and the Loss of Life

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning; from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen 9.5-6; ESV).

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies…He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze…I pursue my enemies and destroy them; I do not turn back until they are wiped out. I wipe them out and crush them, and they do not rise; they fall beneath my feet. You have clothed me with strength for battle; You subdue my adversaries beneath me” (2Sam 22.2b-4, 35, 38-40; HCSB).

INTRODUCTION:

Today we return to the subject of self-defense. In particular, we return to the one caveat that gives people fits regarding it…the taking of the life of another. The sixth commandment: “Thou shall not kill [i.e., murder]” (Exod 20.13) is fairly straightforward in the minds of many. I noted this in my previous post. Taken at face value it appears to mean that “all killing” is wrong or unlawful in the eyes of the Lord. But taking things at face value instead of investigating deeper is what children do, not adults.

There are times when killing is appropriate (cf. Eccl 3.3a). Knowing our biblical history reveals that a lot of killing has been accomplished by the time God writes this commandment on the tablet of stone with His finger (an anthropomorphic expression which means, by His power; comp. Exod 8.19; 24.12; 31.18). A clear indicator that not all killing is deemed unholy.

I’m not sure exactly why this teaching is so offensive to our generation of Christian men and women? Don’t get me wrong I have my suspicions about why this is the case. But let us just state at the outset that I believe the reason is related to our modern generation (perhaps, the last few generations) inability or unwillingness to see the Bible as a unified, cohesive whole. Just like our corporate media here in the US cherry-picks their narratives, many professing Christians cherry-pick their Bibles. On some level, we can’t fault them. They have been taught and in many churches across this nation (at least these are my limited observations) are still be instructed to see the Bible all chopped up in verses. And so, favorite verses are chosen as representative of biblical truth, and yet, unfortunately, they have been ripped out of context. The result is a very shallow comprehension of biblical truth.

To illustrate this to the church I pastor I gave them a test where they were given various biblical terms and they had to choose whether these key-word concepts were “good, evil (bad), or both.” I will admit that Gary DeMar’s book Myths, Lies & Half-Truths gave me the idea. So I can’t claim originality. But, I did develop it further than what he did in his work and I went in a slightly different direction.1 The reactions when the tests were publicly graded and discussed were all across the board. Some were delighted to learn their thinking was in error (an eager student wants to learn and so is not discouraged by a gentle correction) but others were angered and attempted to argue the point.

What I have found is that the same is true when it comes to the matter of self-defense, specifically, when the defense in question leads to the loss of human life. However, if Christians would take the time (and put forth the effort) to study what the Bible actually teaches regarding a specific topic there would be fewer negative knee-jerk reactions to contend with. We must allow God’s Word to determine our thinking in this matter. This is why I pointed out at the closing of my last article that there are exceptions to the rule as seen in Exodus 22:2-3 (pertaining to the thief who breaks in), Exodus 21:12 (when civil authorities are authorized to kill murderers), and in Nehemiah 4:11-14 (when war is justified to protect life and property from another nation/people).

Necessary Safeguard…2

That being said, God does not allow us to wantonly take the life of a fellow creature. His law on this matter pertains to all creatures made by Him. Similarly, He protects animal life from being taken without justification. In short, no one is allowed to kill just because they feel like it.

"And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Gen 9.5-6; ESV).

What do these verses suggest? That whoever takes life without cause, their life will be forfeit. Whether it be a man or an animal. Have you ever wondered why, when a pet kills someone, they put it down? This is why. The Lord God deems it necessary to put a dangerous animal down…just like He does dangerous human beings.3 Though there are many, I will cite two laws to sate the appetite of the curious mind.

"Now if an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall certainly be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. If however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death" (Exod 21:28-29).
"He who strikes someone so that he dies shall certainly be put to death. Yet if he did not lie in wait for him, but God caused him to fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which you may flee. If, however, someone is enraged against his neighbor, so as to kill him in a cunning way, you are to take him even from my altar, to be put to death" (Exod 21.12.14).

A brief explanation of cited texts:

The first text deals with an animal4, in this case, livestock which was common in Israel at this time as a beast of burden. If the animal proved to be aggressive to the point of causing the death of a human being, then it was necessary to put that animal down. The owner was innocent of the animal’s aggression unless there had been prior cause to warn the owner to be cautious. An animal that had evidenced an aggressive nature in the past was to be put under guard. It was the owner’s responsibility to guard the lives of his neighbor and his animal. Failing to do this, if the animal killed another, would result in the owner’s life being forfeit as well; for he refused to do what was right and was therefore liable.

The only exception to this is found in Exodus 21:30,

If instead a ransom is demanded of him, he can pay a redemption price for his life in the full amount demanded from him” (HCSB).

This is a case of the victims’ desire to be merciful, something God allowed for. Please note it was not the judges’ decision but the decision of the victimized party whether or not mercy was to be shown to the guilty party. The imposition of a fine was what they deemed worthy, rather than the individual’s life, and in this case, a lawful exception was made.

The second text (Exod 21.12, 14) deals with two types of killing. The first we would recognize as murder, the other, from our understanding, would label it manslaughter. Murder is a crime against another human being where they purposefully strike to kill.5 However, as the text points out a person who takes the life of another accidentally (i.e., manslaughter) is not considered a murderer. They were allowed to flee to a city of refugee if the preceding investigation proved that they were not guilty of premeditation (cf. Num 35.24; Deut 13.14; 17.4; 19.18).

But what about accidental death due to negligence? Texts dealing with loose ax heads or not putting a fence up around a dangerous structure on one’s property make you liable if someone was injured or hurt because of your negligence (cf. Deut 19.4-5; 22.8 respectively). Even getting in an altercation where a pregnant woman gets hit and it causes her to prematurely go into labor if that baby is injured or killed whatever happened to the child was required of the attacker who hit her: accident or not doesn’t matter (See: Exod 21:22-24).

Life is sacred. It is a gift from our Creator. Therefore, it is to be protected at all times. This is the meaning of the prohibition announced after the Flood. God was declaring through Noah to the rest of the human race that whoever treated lightly the life of mankind, be it another man or beast, their life was (is) forfeit. To shed the blood of another, which is a figurative way of saying—“ending their life” is to give up the right to life. For God authorizes and requires the use of lethal force against the perpetrator.

And, no, that’s not a contradiction, for as we have seen in just these few examples not all circumstances are equal. The goal of the death penalty (another form of defense in the civil sphere of governance) is the protection of life.6 The sentences were to be carried out swiftly once the court of law had convened and determined the situation appropriately, according to the evidence. Why? Two reasons are given in Scripture. First, so that evil might be purged from the surrounding society. Second, the death penalty served as a deterrent to the other wicked in the community who might be inclined to perpetrate evil. As it is written,

"So you shall eliminate the evil among you. And the rest of the people will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. So you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot" (Deut 19.19b-21; also see: Deut 13.11; 17.13; 21:21).

Wrapping things up…

The question of defense is a governmental one. An unfortunate reality, however, is the average understanding of government is a narrow one. The majority of the passages cited in this article are taken from the case laws of the Pentateuch. They served as instructions for how the civil sphere was to respond to the behaviors of some to protect society as a whole. In this fashion then, we see the application of the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 13:4,

...be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (NASB).

But is the civil government the only form of government? No. Think about this. To whom were the laws of God written? A nation or a people? A group or the individual? Both. God’s law first applies to the man or woman who is made in His image, and then, it applies to the nation as a whole. Personal government is the sphere where the individual is charged with performing the Law of God in their life. When a person’s behavior is shown to be in rebellion to this standard of holiness all sorts of vile actions are produced. Murder, the wanton taking of the life of another, is one such violation. To strike against another, to end their life without justification is a criminal offense one that aims for the Creator who gave life. One punishable by death.7

Is that the same thing when a person defends their life or the life of another and a loss of life occurs? Is that act of self-defense the same thing as murder? Another related question is this: “Is the civil government the only governing agency authorized to use the sword?” Let us make this a little more relevant to our time: “Is the civil government the only governing agency authorized to bear arms?”

I want to be careful here because it is easy to be misunderstood. I am only speaking about extreme cases. Self-defense may be a daily reality but it is only exercised on rare occasions. But on those rare occasions, as I’ve put it, is it the right of the individual to use such force in the protection of life? Not as an aggressor, but as a defender?

The text of 2Samuel 22 (and others like it) seems to suggest this is correct. Notice in vv. 3-4 that David states the Lord protects him from violence and saves him from his enemies, but later on, in the same Psalm, David also explains that it is God who “trains my hands for war” (v. 35; HCSB). And those later verses explain that David showed no mercy to those who sought his life. What are we to do with this biblical teaching? Do we ignore it? Do we pass it over? Do we rationalize this passage (and others like it) in an effort to delegitimize it? Essentially, placing it on the proverbial shelf, calling it Old, and thus, not worthy of the New?

When next we meet we shall look at a couple of Scriptural passages that have caused no small amount of confusion for Christian commentators, where Jesus offers insight into the questions I’ve been asking.

ENDNOTES:

1For example, Gary DeMar, wrote in his Introduction, “When I was very young, I remember seeing a western on television where a dispute was settled by the answer to a simple Bible question. I can’t tell you anything else about the movie, but that one scene is etched in my mind. Here’s the question: ‘Who cut off Samson’s hair?’ A smile appeared on the man’s face as he confidently responded, ‘Delilah.’ No doubt the majority of people would have given the same answer, and they like the man in the long-forgotten western, would be wrong [it was a man: Judges 16:19].” DeMar continues, “While the Samson and Delilah hair removal story is not a central doctrine of the Christian faith, it does demonstrate that if a misreading of the Bible is passed on as fact, with few people ever checking the text for accuracy, then misinformation or worse (myths, lies and half-truths) becomes a part of the biblical record.” Myths, Lies & Half-Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2004), xv.

2The reason why safeguards are necessary for the protection of life (both animal and human) is that human beings are violent creatures that love death (cf. Prov 8.36). We live in a fallen world where the wanton taking of a life, be it a human or animal, is a reality. But the warning is given to God’s stewards so that the faithful protect life (sometimes in its preservation, at other times in its removal).

3On this point Gary North writes, “There are no exceptions based on idiocy, temporary insanity, temporary anger, or anything else. Unless it can be proved that the death came as a result of an accident—no premeditation—the criminal is to be executed. The willful shedding of man’s blood must be punished by the civil government by execution.” The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), 116, PDF E-book.

4The application would go beyond livestock, for the principle in the law is in regards to an animal, even though “ox” is mentioned. Being able to draw the applying principle from the cultural consideration of the period, in which, the text was originally written to a specific audience, is of paramount importance.

5This would likewise apply to those who desired the outcome, participated in some way (like paying for an assassin), or refused to offer aid in the preservation of life (cf. Prov 24.11-12; Lev 19.17; Rom 1.32). Thus, the malicious witness falls under the category of “worthy of death” if they are testifying about a crime supposedly committed where the death penalty is applicable. Say, for example, accusing a man of rape when no rape has been committed. The penalty for rape is death, and so the malicious witness in such a scenario would, when they are found guilty through investigation, be applied to them (cf. Deut 19.16-19).

6In light of Genesis 9:5-6 North explains, “[This passage] explains the nature of the [murder] violation: man’s life is uniquely important to God, since man is made in God’s image. An assault on man is an assault on the image of God. [Moreover,] the clause explains why men, by means of the civil government, are required to execute bloody judgment on murderers. Man is made in the image of God; therefore, as God’s image, mankind can bring judgment in the name of God, the supreme Judge who executes final judgment. Man is God’s agent who exercises God’s delegated authority. He is an agent of the King. He is to exercise dominion over the earth… [as] a royal agent, and as such, he deserves protection.” Ibid., 117.

7This is why Kyle Rittenhouse’s use of a firearm had to be investigated. If he wantonly took the life of another, then he’d have been guilty of murder. However, if it could be proved that he was provoked, fearing for his safety with no other recourse, and was therefore justified in his killing, then he’d be found innocent. Which he was.

Posted in love

A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part III: A Christian’s Responsibility to Respond in Love

So far, in the two previous posts (A Word to be Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance: Part I and A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part II: The Issue and the Appropriate Response towards Civil Officials), I have laid out how God judged sin in the past at a national level through the use of water, fire and sword. God created mankind to bear His image throughout all creation, therefore, it is an act of rebellion—to the highest degree—to assume the authority to bear one’s own image without reference to His Law-Word. Rejecting God’s standard of holy living invites God’s wrathful judgment against mankind’s perceived versions of good and evil.

Civil governments are not above God’s retribution. They have been sanctioned to uphold good and to punish, and thereby, to purge evil from our society. In this fashion then, governments are meant to be protectors against the assault of godly (goodly) individuals. This is their duty as the Lord’s ministers and as our servants to be a defender and not an instigator of wrong. Remember they are ordained to serve the good of society by executing vengeance against evil, for, as it is written, “they do not bear the sword in vain” (Rom 13.4).

This means that they are severely limited by jurisdictional boundaries. It also means that the Christian—a member of Christ’s body, His Church—needs to recognize his jurisdiction of speaking God’s Truth into all areas of life. We speak not only to individuals, to families, and to Churches, but also to society as a whole, in particular, to the authorities above us in the civil sphere.

What of those entrapped by such lies or deceived by such sins?

Our duty is to speak the truth in love. This is a command from our Lord: “[to] teach [the nations] to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28.20; NET). Love is not to be defined by anything other than obedience (positive action) to (towards) the Law of God. Love is defined by God’s law for true love upholds it:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5.3; NASB).

The one thing that we do not want to do is be silent. For it is the Name of Christ Jesus that redeems and ransoms sinners from the depths of all sorts of depravity. This is why we must speak out against such tyranny and abuse of power as we witness in Canada regarding the new legislation C4. For it is an attempt to silence the people of Christ from speaking in His Name.

Nor should we attempt to isolate, and therefore, insulate ourselves from the world in which we live. Though it must be admitted that this has been the practice of some, we must resist this temptation. But as Christians, this is not something we are authorized to do in this instance. For we are commanded in Scripture to separate the leaven from within our midst; within the body of Christ, but not to separate ourselves from the world:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or a greedy person, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or habitually drunk, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a person. For what business of mine is it to judge outsiders?” (1Cor 5.9-12; emphasis added).

Our goal as Christians is to bear witness to the world at large, to be salt and light (Matt 5.13-14). What good is light hidden or salt unspent? They are worthless. Does not the world need what we have? Were we not at one time just like those in the world? Were we not at one time guilty of the sins that we see the world committing? Even some of those things that are abominable to the Lord our God? Have we not been redeemed? Have we not experienced the love of God in Christ? Are we not adopted children of the Most High? How did this adoption come about? How is it that we have been redeemed? From where did we learn of a ransom price for our sin, for a life without lawlessness, a life filled with the Spirit and the love of God? Is it not because we were witnessed to? Did others who once shared in our lot not stoop to our level and proclaim to us the mercies of God in Christ? Were we not told by others who were once lost of the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf?

“…Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1Cor 6.9-11; emphasis added).

The message of the cross is Christ crucified. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might be adopted as sons and daughters of God (2Cor 5.21; Gal 3.26). All of us came from a previous life of sin. We are all deserving of hell and the grave. No mercy ought to be shown to us. No compassion should have been forthcoming to us. For we have all besmirched the Name of God (Rom 3.23). And yet, though we were all vile sinners, in Christ we experienced being made clean, being set-apart, being declared “not-guilty” fully acquitted of our crimes against our Maker. For Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit according to the will of the Father made us new through His saving, sanctifying grace! And dare we deny telling this truth to others? Dare we be silent for fear from tyrannical despots that no neither their right hand from their left. Should we not preach the truth in love, demonstrating the grace of God in sharing the goodness (gospel) of Christ and His kingdom with a world of lost sinners. Confused by deceiving hearts and the false doctrines of men. Should we not cry out against the liars and the abusers, the swindler’s in the highest offices in our land, and declare with one voice:

Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19).

Understand my brethren, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that these laws as seen in Canada and those currently coming our way under the guise of “hate speech” here in the US are meant to silence us from using the Name of Jesus (Acts 4.18), but we must not! We dare not! For I know not one, who knows Christ, who desires to feel His shame on that fateful day because we feared to speak His truth before those who can only harm the body but have no power over our eternal souls (Matt 10.32-33). Therefore, let us with one accord declare to the heads of state here and in Canada and across the West into the farthest corners of this world: God alone defines sin. God alone defines marriage. God alone defines sex. God alone determines male and female. God alone determines what constitutes the family. God alone determines right and wrong. And God alone determines salvation. Our desire is to go forth amidst the nations to proclaim the Word of God to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see, and no government, no organization, no bullying, no amount of hate or intolerance for our beliefs, no amount of phobia for the creation narrative will silence us. And those who refuse to listen, we do not judge, for the Word of Christ will stand against the unrepentant and judge them on that Day (cf. Deut 18.19; John 12.48; also see: Acts 17.30-31).

Amen

Posted in self-defense

Stepping Along a Path of Contention: Further Musings on Self-Defense and the Key Issue that Drives the Debate–The Taking of Another’s Life

Thou shall not kill” (Exod 20:13; KJV).

In the letters the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and eliminate the entire army of people or province which was going to attack them…” (Esther 8:11; NASB).1

INTRODUCTION:

For years, we have been conditioned to think that religion and politics are separate issues. People on both sides of the aisle get nervous, aggravated, and, sometimes, downright disgusted that you dare try to mingle the two supposedly unrelated subjects. In the past, I have found this amusing. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant—to lack knowledge in a given subject. We all fall in that category somewhere along the intellectual line. But it is absolutely disheartening when one refuses to listen, preferring their ignorant bliss over being teachable.

I am soon closing in on nearly two decades of serving in Christian ministry. I have had the privilege of pastoring two rural churches in southeastern Ohio. And so, I have had my fair share of encounters with persons who prefer not to know the truth of a matter. Such individuals dislike having cherished narratives that they hold challenged. They refuse to investigate matters thoroughly, even though it is their responsibility as representatives of Christ.

You may be correct on a given issue but you will never truly know until that issue has been challenged. It used to be taught in scientific inquiry that the goal of the scientific method was the disapproval of a supposed concept. Within a generation, this standard has been removed.

The goal of sciences…

Are you aware that there was a time in the past when Christian theology was called the “queen of the sciences?” Just like most people offhandedly dismiss the idea that politics and faith are interrelated issues, so too is their disdain for the idea that the study of God is truly a scientific endeavor. No, not science in the sense of empirical data gathering. But science in the sense of pursuing knowledge and wisdom. Empirical science is a tool that seeks to gain knowledge and wisdom about the material world. The same is true of theological inquiry, it is the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom about the Maker of heaven and earth and all therein.

Answer to a troubling question…

In case you are wondering where in the heck I’m headed, I’ll let you in on the big reveal. For a few weeks now I have been speaking on issues pertaining to the 2nd Amendment; the right to bear arms, the right to self-defense. Previously I have stated that this is a religious issue. Some may wonder at this: “How is that possible when it is surely a political issue?” This is an important question. One that needs to be carefully weighed and responded to. In particular, it is a question that Christians need to wrestle with and come down on the right side of.

You see, my primary goal is to reach professing Christians—that is my target audience. I’m not opposed to others reading my work, but as a pastor, my goal is the edification of the body of Christ. Many Christians do not see the connection between politics and their faith. Some believe that our citizenship in heaven prevents us from getting entangled in the affairs of this earth. Politics is focused on societal behaviors. However, you need to ask yourself, “What is the governing principle behind one’s political views or the policies that may be enacted upon a society?” Two things need to be understood.

Two things: Politics and Faith…

First, while it is true that we are citizens of heaven, if we are in Christ, another equal truth is established from our faith: we are citizens of this earth. Christians have dual citizenship: in heaven and on earth. And so, since our faith is not meant to be lived under a basket, we need to be concerned about this world (for our children, our children’s children, our children’s children’s children sake, etc., etc.). Furthermore, as Christians it is our responsibility to have concerns about the welfare of others, even beyond the welfare of our families and churches, for we are commanded to love our neighbors; even our enemies. Thus, politics which deals with society, which affects society either positively or negatively, ought to be a Christian’s concern. We are not permitted to say to our neighbors, “Oh, you’re cold…be warm” but give them nothing to warm themselves. Or, “Oh, you’re thirsty…be quenched” but give them nothing to drink. Or, “Oh you’re being robbed, assaulted, infringed upon through unjust taxation (among a list of others things)…” but do nothing to help alleviate the harm being done to them.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does… What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?…if [faith] does not have works, [it] is dead” (James 1.22-25; 2.14, 17).

This leads to the second principle that ought to be carefully considered. What is the foundation or cornerstone—i.e., the governing principle—behind political views and policies that are enacted upon a society? Think about this. What do the various policies meant to curb a society’s behavior entail? They attempt to establish a parameter of right and wrong. Politics seeks to answer ethical questions about life, about the inner workings of a given society. Therefore, politics is never neutral. How can it be, when people are not? Consequently, politics is likewise a religious issue.

We read in Scripture that,

The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14.1a).

Does this mean that the fool does not worship anything? Is the fool without religious convictions? No, that is not what the Holy Spirit says. The fool’s denial of God is not a denial of an object of worship or a god to serve, but as seen in the case of atheism (no-god), they worship themselves for they are their own object of worship. Their mind is the determiner of truth, the arbitrator of right and wrong.

So Christian what sort of leader should you prefer to govern the policies of society? One that is founded upon the Word of God, held under the conviction that Christ is Lord over all; or another who pretends that they speak as gods and that they are the messiah of the masses? The Christian faith demands that we defend against all manner of wrong, once it has been sought out and properly identified. Moreover, our faith established the groundwork for self-defense.

Stepping along the path of contention…

How will a father protect his children, the very heritage that the Lord from above has granted him if he lays down his arms of self-defense? Do you not know that a mother bear will, without shame, protect her young cubs from harm? Even when the enemy in question is much larger and stronger than she is, like a male bear?

I pointed out last time that David, the young shepherd, stood against a mighty foe named Goliath as an act of self-defense. He defended himself, his family, his king, and his nation. More importantly, David fought to protect the sacred name of God. A testimony to all the nations that God alone is God:

You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a saber,” says David, “but I come to you in the name of the Lord of armies, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you and remove your head from you. Then I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that this entire assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will hand you over to us!” (1Samuel 17.45-47; emphasis added).

Remember that self-defense properly defined is “the act of defending oneself, one’s property, or a close relative.”2 A defender protects, he does not instigate or provoke. While this concept is difficult for some to accept, what seems to be the decisive point of contention is that self-defense sometimes leads to the taking of another human life.

Humanitarian hearts…

Human life is sacred. Do you believe this? Do you think that human lives are precious? Though I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, you need to understand that the ONLY reason this is the case is that life is a gift from God. If you believe that life sprung up as a result of random processes (chance) due to some, as of yet unexplained, series of evolutionary actions, then you have no legitimate justification to argue about the dignity of life. Either life is an accident or life is purposeful. The Christian worldview alone accounts for this truth, the only way someone who denies biblical truth can attempt to argue in such a way is to adopt (borrow or steal) from a system of faith that is not their own. However, since all human creatures have been created in the image of God, a common belief will no doubt be held that life is sacred, precious and is worth preserving and protecting.3 Such intellectual schizophrenia is to be expected by rebellious sinners who deny their Creator.

This schizophrenia is visible in many of the arguments surrounding the 2nd Amendment. People on both sides of the aisle will argue that life is precious and must be protected. To do this, it is argued, is to avoid self-defense in the sense of taking another life regardless of the circumstances. It is believed that if dangerous weapons like guns were removed from the public’s grasp, then life would be properly guarded. David Barton highlights this popular attitude. He writes,

“…there is also the subjective, emotional argument. That is, since every individual with any sense of humanity detests seeing families destroyed, innocent children sacrificed, and promising lives snuffed out as a result of gun violence, the argument is advanced that the reducing the number of guns will produce a safer society.”4

The key issue in the debate over self-defense is whether or not an individual has the right to take the life of another. Period. Christians wonder, “If the taking of life is ever right within the confines of the biblical worldview?” Pacifist pastors like John Piper say, “no.” Progressive Christian scholars like David P. Gushee seem to share similar thoughts. Gushee, in his book entitled The Sacredness of Human Life argues,

“Jesus never blessed killing. He died for God’s kingdom but did not kill for it. His disciples understood the centrality of his radical nonviolence and became a nonviolent movement in a violent context of imperial oppression and domination. They rejected and recoiled from every form of killing, from abortion to infanticide to the gladiator games to war to the death penalty. They could not bear to see anyone killed, ‘though justly.’”5

Earlier in the same text, Gushee opined what he evidently believed was an inescapable truth:

“Let us grant that no simple appeal to life’s sacredness can resolve the question whether Christians can support or participate in war… Just-war theory has been pristine only in theory, not where the bodies pile up.”6

If we were to classify the three arguments against taking life under the guise of self-defense they would be as follows: no weapons, no just-killing, no just-war. All three are interrelated in the sense that they desire the preservation of life. Yet, all three fail to discern the nature of reality as it truly is:

“…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen 8.21; cf. Gen 6.5).

When Killing Ain’t Wrong, and When it is…

Almost every person that visited a Sunday school at some point in their life (or at least had friends that did?) has heard this biblical text cited. Don’t worry, even if you didn’t go to Sunday school or at least had friends that did, odds are you’ve heard this commandment before. You may have even recited it yourself:

"Thou shall not kill" (Exod 20.13; KJV).

The one who understands this commandment as saying that all forms of killing are wrong will then proceed to explain why the death penalty is wrong, eating animals is not the way to go. To be a Christian and then argue that there are times, in certain situations, where killing is justified is from their point-of-view groundless, hypocritical dribble. Thus, leading to a divided camp in Christendom (that’s Christ’s kingdom for the uninitiated)8 regarding the use of firearms or the self-defense claim.9

But is that what Exodus 20:13 says? “Come on man, can’t you read,” decries the critic, “that’s exactly what it says!” While there is nothing wrong with the King James rendering of the verse, murder would have been a more accurate translation of the Hebrew text for not all killing is unjustified. As the writer of Ecclesiastes explains, there is

"A time to kill…" (Eccl 3.3a).

And a few verses later the writer even says there is

"A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace" (Eccl 3.8).

Mark that! Not all killing is unjustified. In some cases, you would be unjustified in not killing.

So that Bible says that you shouldn’t kill, but then you should kill. O’ how some people love a supposed contradiction. Yeah, that’s right, I said supposed. I say that because it’s true. There is no contradiction here. For, the biblical witness describes and defines when killing is appropriate and when it is not. Scripturally speaking, killing another is justified when practicing self-defense (Exodus 22:2)10; when the civil authorities find one guilty of a crime worthy of death and they have them executed (Exodus 21.12; cf. Lev 24.16); when warring with another nation (people) is justified (Esther 8.11 cited above; cf. 2Samuel 10:12; Nehemiah 4.11-14 ).

This seems to be a good place to stop. We shall investigate the matter further before we move on, and in so doing, we shall see what necessary safeguards the Lord has put in place to prevent the wanton taking of life….

ENDNOTES:

1Unless otherwise noted all scriptural references shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, 2008 Desktop edition, s.v., “self-defense” def. 2.

3Due to different objects of faith there will be variances in how this is to be understood. A case in point is seen in the argument over abortion (the murder of unborn babies). Both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life advocates will argue that life is precious but the former will not be as consistent as to when life is a truly precious life worth preserving and protecting. For the Pro-Choicer the woman’s autonomy is the most precious aspect of life and it needs to be protected at all costs. The Pro-Lifer believes that both the woman and the child are precious but not at the expense of one or the other; absolute autonomy is therefore rightly rejected.

4David Barton, The Second Amendment: Preserving the Inalienable Right of Individual Protection (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 2000), Kindle Edition, loc 305-313.

5David P. Gushee, The Sacredness of Human Life: Why an Ancient Biblical Vision is Key to the World’s Future, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013), 370-371.

6Ibid., 166. Allow me to put those citations provided by Gushee into context. The first quote above (p. 370-371) is in light of Gushee’s discussion regarding the death penalty. The second quote (p. 166) is in the sixth chapter of his book “Christendom divided against itself: Three Case Studies” where he argues against “war” in a Christian context. To the reader, I will add my thoughts regarding both issues.

8And yes, I am one of those guys that says Christ reigns supreme from heaven on earth and anything in creation—seen or unseen—that fall in between. He is Lord, King, of it all, for ALL authority in heaven and on earth is His by divine right, through sacrificial love, via the power of the Holy Spirit. That is Christ Jesus is the earthly representative of the invisible God. He alone can reveal God for He alone is God, was with God, and shares in the glory of God something no mere creature could do.

9John Piper once said that if a man were assailing his wife rather than violently intervening, he’d call the police and wait. See: John Piper, “Should Christians be Encouraged to Arm Themselves,” Desiring God, December 22, 2015, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves. (Reference point in the article is under heading #8). In a forthcoming post, I will be arguing against the various points Piper uses to substantiate his claim. For it is my conviction that such pacifism while sounding holy, is as unholy as turning a stone into bread so that a hungry man might have a bite to eat. Such pacifism encourages violence, rather than dissuading it. Rather the godly man should play the part of Phineas and run that devil through (cf. Num 25.7-11)!

10The next verse adds further clarity on the intention here. It states, “[But] if the sun has risen on him, there will be guilt for bloodshed on his account” (Exod 22.3a). The idea seems to be that in a more vulnerable state (like in the night) you are not to be held accountable for acting in self-defense; however, if the sun has arisen (meaning you are able to assess the situation more accurately) then you will be held accountable for killing unnecessarily. Restraint should always be used in defense, unless no other option is available.